FLANC Continental Society Report
The Latin American Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (FLANC) is our continental Federation. Twenty-three societies, 2 regional societies, and 3 extra continental societies are part of FLANC. There are over 10,000 neurosurgeons in Latin America but the official numbers may not accurately show the actual number of neurosurgeons as many of them have not joined any of the country societies.
Competency-based medical education has been practised among FLANC members. The neurosurgical training is divided into 5 levels. The lowest level during the first and second year of residency is to acquire fundamental knowledge of both neurophysiology and neuroanatomy (“Know” phase). Mid-level residents are required to apply the knowledge into practice. The surgical skills and ability to make accurate diagnosis in neurosurgical disease are essential in this level (“Knows how” phase). As a senior resident in the third phase, one is required to perform surgical procedures under supervision (“Shows how” phase).The fourth phase is for unsupervised practice (“Does” phase). The final level of training is becoming innovator in the neurosurgical field (“Does better” phase).
FLANC has been using new educational tools such as social media and internet:
- More than 400,000 visitors have entered our web page.
- We have offered neurosurgeons more than 160 webinars with more than 12,000 accesses.
- Workplace has been developed through a Facebook association and we have more than 1,500 neurosurgeons registered and interacting.
Grants and scholarships have been offered for residents and young neurosurgeons for short visits in FLANC reference centres.
FLANC has begun to build strong relations among different International Societies and we have been participating in their meetings as an Invited Society with several speakers.
Recently we certified postgraduate reference centers in Latin-American and abroad to allow young neurosurgeons to have a short visit (1 to 3 months) in order to be trained in different aspects of our specialty that can be applied in clinical work in their countries. Full or partial grants have been given by FLANC to young neurosurgeons from different countries to fulfill their training.
We held the first FLANC EANS Training Course in Rosario, Argentina, August 21 - 22, 2019, on Neuro-oncology and Skull Base. Eight European and 18 Latin American professors joined our course. Eighty-eight residents and young neurosurgeons attended it. We are planning to continue with the other courses in different cities in Latin America in order to contribute to education among our neurosurgeons.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many of our designed plans as participation on meetings, grants for visitorships, and other face-to-face presence educational tools. Nevertheless we increased our social and virtual work with weekly webinars and courses, including sharing educational activities with many regional and continental societies.
We regret the passing of many Latin American neurosurgeons and friends due to COVID-19.
I want to finish this brief report with the words of a young neurosurgeon from Brazil shortly before going into ICU for COVID-19 complications:
“I am honoured to do what I love and that is working as a neurosurgeon and helping people with their diseases. I would do it again.”
We as doctors and neurosurgeons are committed to help people who are suffering and I am sure that the Latin American Federation (FLANC) as well as all neurosurgical organizations in the world will overcome this sad period of mankind’s history - and keep on working to develop better neurosurgery through education.
Claudio Yampolsky, FLANC President